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Heresy 220 and the nature of magic

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, JNR said:

I honestly have no idea what that season was attempting to convey, because it struck me as a kooky disaster, like almost all the post-canonical content.

I mean the broad strokes premise of Jon setting aside his crown to gain Dany as an ally, and setting aside grievances against the Lannisters in an attempt to gain them as allies--the idea that the game of thrones, and cycles of revenge that are meant to compensate for an absence of true justice, are irrelevant when weighed against the real threat. Even episode 1 and 2 of this season seemed to aspire to that, tonally, gathering everyone in Winterfell again, echoing the way in which we meet most of the principal characters (barring Dany) in S1E01. 

Episode 3 does not follow through on those ideas, and E4 - 6 seem set to abandon it entirely.

2 hours ago, JNR said:

It's perfectly clear to me, though -- and has been since at least season four -- that the show, at Heart, went for a Hidden-Prince-and-Dark-Lord-driven, eighties-style fantasy of the kind GRRM wrote ASOIAF as a disgusted reaction to

On the bolded, this seems to be one of the aspirational ideas people have for ASOIAF, but I question how true it will be in practice. GRRM reveres LotR, and even his criticisms of Tolkien imitators (as he puts it) strike me as tepid and vague.

While all is not lost, I'm not entirely confident in Martin, as both his reverence for Tolkien and certain aspects of ASOIAF still display, to me, many of the bad symptoms of Tolkien's imitators: a narrative driven by noble and magically destined figures, a collapsing world waiting for an aristocratic hero to restore order and tradition.

It is all too easy to imagine some variety of end point in which knighthood and nobility are 'redeemed' by sympathetic POV characters, all too easy to imagine an ending where various characters ascend to their "rightful" places on the Iron Throne, in Winterfell, in Casterly Rock, but this is to be read as a good outcome because these characters have a sense of noblesse oblige. And so ASOIAF would become yet another work that is, regardless of the intent of the author, ultimately reactionary in its themes and message.

There's wiggle room for Martin to give Westeros a more revolutionary future, though I wonder how eager Martin is to tell that story, and how eager the readers are to be told that story, given their investment in the POV characters.

2 hours ago, JNR said:

And of course they're now doing a Tolkien knockoff anticlimax, complete with political mop-up that seems irrelevant.  What else?

Fair enough, but...: 
https://observer.com/2015/08/george-r-r-martins-ending-for-game-of-thrones-will-not-be-as-brutal-as-you-think/
 

Quote

I’ve said before that the tone of the ending that I’m going for is bittersweet. I mean, it’s no secret that Tolkien has been a huge influence on me, and I love the way he ended Lord of the Rings. It ends with victory, but it’s a bittersweet victory. Frodo is never whole again, and he goes away to the Undying Lands, and the other people live their lives. And the scouring of the Shire—brilliant piece of work, which I didn’t understand when I was 13 years old: “Why is this here? The story’s over?” But every time I read it I understand the brilliance of that segment more and more. All I can say is that’s the kind of tone I will be aiming for.

 

Edited by Matthew.

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, MaesterSam said:

Well to be fair, we haven't really seen them operate in the books much at all. And when we did see them, their actions were really more ambiguous than evil, if we consider the situation from their side with the NW being their enemy and the wildlings being on their side of the Wall.

Perhaps, though what has happened to Tormund (and presumably many other wildlings)- being forced to kill his own wight-ified son - is particularly horrible, and it is strongly implied by both the "dead things in the water" message and Melisandre's visions that a slaughter has occurred at Hardhome.

Some of the problems with the Others are inherent to the worldbuilding idea behind them--that their origins (and consequently, first motives) lay in antiquity, that they originate in a distant era, with distant people, engaged in distant struggles. For me, there's a ceiling to how interesting their origins can be. Even under a best case scenario, I question whether or not the final arc can match the highs of the Wo5K, a more fundamentally human story with clearly established motives.

That said, while I think the Other's origins have a ceiling for how interesting they can be, the mystery of the timing of their return (why now? what has changed?) has greater potential to tie elegantly with the various established narratives, hopefully in some way that is more interesting than them just being some ancient threat that certain figures (the Starks, Dany, whomever) are obligated to deal with because of some kind of magically inherited burden.

Edited by Matthew.

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Actually, having had another 5 minutes to think about it (and partly inspired by Brad's quote above), I think the show may have spoiled a key plot point after all. Ugh. (It's actually kind of cool, if it turns out to happen). I'm going to put this in spoiler tags only because, if it turned out to be true, it would be a major spoiler. Of course I have no idea, I just thought of it just now. So really it's just a theory, but incorporates show information.

Spoiler

 

Ok, so remember how GRRM has said he told D&D the general ending of all the characters? Ok, so what are the chances that D&D strayed so far from his plans that they randomly had Arya kill a figure called the Night King that doesn't even exist in the books, in order to end/prevent the Long Night? Wouldn't it be more likely that they adapted something he planned into what we ended up getting? So let's assume for a moment that Arya is somehow involved in ending the threat from the North, possibly by assassinating someone in a leadership position (which she is, after all, being trained to do).

Where is Arya's arc leading? She is being trained to kill, by many teachers and in many different ways. Why her? She is disobedient and unlikely to become a true faceless man. I am not the first to suggest that they may need her to get close to someone that not many people can get close to. Hold that thought.

Next, let's consider GRRM's oft-repeated statement that the only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself. Right. So think of a kill assignment that would lead to conflict in Arya's heart. Got it? Great. Now for the connection. 

I don't take credit for the theory that Jon will come back as a much darker character - but I love it and it seems likely, based on the precedent set by Lady Stoneheart. Now, she had gone insane by the time she was killed, so he won't be as bad, but you get the idea. A morally grey Jon returns from the dead. By this time, the NW traitors will have fled from the overwhelming number of wildlings at Castle Black. One likely location for them is the Nightfort, newly rebuilt (they can really only go so far, since it's winter now). I came across a cool theory on Youtube that undead Jon will follow them there and, with Ghost's help, murder them in gruesome ways one by one. Like one of those stories Bran used to like, except Jon is the thing that comes in the night. 

Now here it comes. Jon has already been identified as having "the mark of the beast", and once you have that you know it's not long before they say you are a man by day but the night is yours to rule. This is the twist - it's not Stannis who is going to be our new Night's King, but JON. 

From here, the connection made by D&D is obvious. They changed Night's King to Night King, and in their world he wasn't Jon. But they still had Arya kill him. 

 

 

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46 minutes ago, Matthew. said:

It is all too easy to imagine some variety of end point in which knighthood and nobility are 'redeemed' by sympathetic POV characters, all too easy to imagine an ending where various characters ascend to their "rightful" places on the Iron Throne, in Winterfell, in Casterly Rock, but this is to be read as a good outcome because these characters have a sense of noblesse oblige. And so ASOIAF would become yet another work that is, regardless of the intent of the author, ultimately reactionary in its themes and message.

If it makes you feel any better, in GRRM's other works, the honorable characters almost never make it. They're taken out by Littlefinger-type characters. ;)

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, MaesterSam said:

If it makes you feel any better, in GRRM's other works, the honorable characters almost never make it. They're taken out by Littlefinger-type characters. ;)

I don't want a bad ending for the characters, per se, just one in which the nobles are denied their political ambitions--people talk of this largely in terms of the "hidden heir," but what I mean is that I don't want an ending that glorifies birthright rule at all, I don't want an ending where institutions like "King of the Seven Kingdoms" or "King/Lord of the North" persisting is played as a positive thing.

Ser Gregor, the Boltons, and the Freys are the symptoms, not the disease--so long as kings and thrones persist, then the cycle will repeat itself. The next imbecile or psychopath who gets to torment Westeros because they happen to have been born from the right bloodline is just around the corner.

For me, GRRM sticking the landing means going beyond acknowledging that in-world (as is done occasionally) and actually attempting to follow through with solutions, even if its the harder path. On that front, I have mixed expectations. 

On the one hand, he's clearly aware that feudalism is bad, and doesn't seem as sentimental about it as is typical of fantasy--OTOH, almost every single POV is still some variety of noble, while perspectives such as those of the Free Folk and the Sparrows are touched upon only intermittently, with exposition, rather than experienced firsthand; even a plot line about a slave revolution is experienced through the eyes of a Westerosi noble.

Edited by Matthew.

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1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

Perhaps, though what has happened to Tormund (and presumably many other wildlings)- being forced to kill his own wight-ified son - is particularly horrible, and it is strongly implied by both the "dead things in the water" message and Melisandre's visions that a slaughter has occurred at Hardhome.

This is true, they do seem to kill a lot of people at Hardhome. However, killing people is something that is done in war, even by people/armies we don't consider "evil". The Dothraki, in book 1, sack Lhazarene towns and kill many inhabitants, selling the rest into slavery. This is how they plan to buy ships. When Dany is upset, she is told "this is the way of war". Tywin Lannister sent the Mountain into the Riverlands to kill civilians. That could certainly be labeled an evil act, but does it make Tywin a Dark Lord who is so evil he is a trope? Not quite. So while killing civilians is definitely not ok, if you're doing it for a purpose in a war, you're not evil enough to be a trope. The Others did, of course, have a valid reason: they needed more people in their army. 

I actually believe that this is a subtle point GRRM is trying to make in this series: that no matter what the scary, seemingly evil Others do - there is a human somewhere in our story who has done worse. 

1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

Some of the problems with the Others are inherent to the worldbuilding idea behind them--that their origins (and consequently, first motives) lay in antiquity, that they originate in a distant era, with distant people, engaged in distant struggles. For me, there's a ceiling to how interesting their origins can be. Even under a best case scenario, I question whether or not the final arc can match the highs of the Wo5K, a more fundamentally human story with clearly established motives.

Yes, this is a fair point, and I hadn't really thought about them this way before. They won't have a direct connection to any of our characters or their stories - except perhaps Bran, who may communicate with them through the weirnet. As an enemy, it will be difficult to come up with a satisfying motivation for them for extinguishing all life. But as an ally.... things look different, IMO. If one of the Starks were to lead them, they would represent the counterpart to the dragons: a weapon of mass destruction unleashed upon the world. A sword without a hilt. 

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14 minutes ago, Matthew. said:

I don't want a bad ending for the characters, per se, just one in which the nobles are denied their political ambitions--people talk of this largely in terms of the "hidden heir," but what I mean is that I don't want an ending that glorifies birthright rule at all, I don't want an ending where institutions like "King of the Seven Kingdoms" or "King/Lord of the North" persisting is played as a positive thing.

For me, GRRM sticking the landing means addressing the fact that people like Ser Gregor, the Boltons, and the Freys are the symptoms, not the disease--so long as kings and thrones persist, then the cycle will repeat itself. The next imbecile or psychopath who gets to torment Westeros because they happen to have been born from the right bloodline is just around the corner.

I agree completely. I just don't think that's the story he is writing. R + L may turn out to be J, but there will be a twist to it. Maybe the PTWP has to be sacrificed to a weirwood on his 20th birthday. Maybe he was promised to lead the Others in the Battle for the Eve (I assume that's what the other side calls it? ;)). In any case, death will change him and I doubt he will be ruling anywhere by the end of the story. In which case I don't mind if he was a secret prince. 

Just to play devil's advocate, I do feel the need to point out that Euron was fairly elected. 

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6 hours ago, Matthew. said:

On the bolded, this seems to be one of the aspirational ideas people have for ASOIAF, but I question how true it will be in practice. GRRM reveres LotR, and even his criticisms of Tolkien imitators (as he puts it) strike me as tepid and vague.

GRRM has thrown the hat into the ring and then just went away. Quite odd. 

There was no need to throw the hat and by now, with the show and all the problems he faces, he has even lost ground. He wanted to show the world that Tolkien is not realistic enough and as a result GRRM was lost in realism and the show in lazy chlichés while loosing it's own story.

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Well it will be for the best I stop abandon the forums due to exams but what do guys think about the Jenny's Song from the show ? I read great book theories about Jenny's song, how it is to song Rhaegar would play, how it is about mother's and children, or it could be connected to other song about a mother searching the battlefield to find her son etc, so while I love the song it wasn't what I expected? Do you think the song will be same in books? What about Tysha's song ? Will we learn the missing part about the spring? 

Spoiler

I was thinking if it will be weird to post about The Wall and Qur'an's verses about Zulqarneyn here?

 

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Matthew. said:

On the bolded, this seems to be one of the aspirational ideas people have for ASOIAF, but I question how true it will be in practice. GRRM reveres LotR, and even his criticisms of Tolkien imitators (as he puts it) strike me as tepid and vague.

While all is not lost, I'm not entirely confident in Martin, as both his reverence for Tolkien and certain aspects of ASOIAF still display, to me, many of the bad symptoms of Tolkien's imitators: a narrative driven by noble and magically destined figures, a collapsing world waiting for an aristocratic hero to restore order and tradition.

My impressions are that GRRM has placed a number of false tropes that will ultimately lead to nowhere, and are traps that a majority of people have fallen into to their peril. It's silly to use the word 'peril', but I think there's a rabid sect of readers so invested in R+L=J that they will be extremely upset when it's proven untrue. That is their peril, and that is what I believe GRRM was hinting at in that video he released the same Sunday of the premier of season 8. He said some people are going to like D&D's ending better than his. If the show is following the same outline and hitting all the same high notes, what other ending is he hinting at if not Jon's?

13 hours ago, Matthew. said:

There's wiggle room for Martin to give Westeros a more revolutionary future, though I wonder how eager Martin is to tell that story, and how eager the readers are to be told that story, given their investment in the POV characters.

Oh, they'll consume it eagerly, but it'll give them stomach cramps.

12 hours ago, Matthew. said:

Perhaps, though what has happened to Tormund (and presumably many other wildlings)- being forced to kill his own wight-ified son - is particularly horrible, and it is strongly implied by both the "dead things in the water" message and Melisandre's visions that a slaughter has occurred at Hardhome.

I posit that Tormund actually was involved in a ceremony that transformed his son into a white walker. Torwynd was often sickly, so a chance to become a white walker may have been a more preferable life.

12 hours ago, MaesterSam said:

Now here it comes. Jon has already been identified as having "the mark of the beast", and once you have that you know it's not long before they say you are a man by day but the night is yours to rule. This is the twist - it's not Stannis who is going to be our new Night's King, but JON. 

From here, the connection made by D&D is obvious. They changed Night's King to Night King, and in their world he wasn't Jon. But they still had Arya kill him. 

I know you had this in spoiler tags, but I don't think it was necessary. We've discussed Jon being the Night's King many times before, and to me it's so obviously true. The Night's King was a Lord Commander who was taken down by mutiny in cooperation with the Lord of Winterfell and the King Beyond the Wall. Isn't that exactly what happened to Jon?

Since I believe there is a wheel of time in play and that it has been replaying historical events in reverse, the outcomes have been different. Therefore, since the Night's King from long ago was presumably killed or interred into the Black Gate, Jon's fate is to somehow survive his internment. They will place his body in an ice cell thinking he is dead, (thus the blue rose smelling sweet growing out of a chink) but because they didn't encase his body into the Wall like the other Nights King, he will be able to rise and take his vengeance against those that killed him. Will he understand and know who his true enemies are? I wonder. I understand that men of the Nights Watch killed him, but Melisandre warned Jon that his enemies are men that smile to his face and sharpen their blades behind his back. Bowen Marsh never hid his distaste for Jon, so I think Bowen really did think he had to do it 'for the Watch'. I have been saying for a very long time now that the wildlings are the Others, and are the 'smiling enemy' that Melisandre warned about. Jon needs to kill the Others - the wildlings - and going from castle to castle to kill them sounds about right.

While I like your idea about Arya killing Jon, because it's interesting, I actually don't see that happening. I think once the Wall comes down, every creature of magic will die - including Jon.

11 hours ago, MaesterSam said:

But as an ally.... things look different, IMO. If one of the Starks were to lead them, they would represent the counterpart to the dragons: a weapon of mass destruction unleashed upon the world. A sword without a hilt. 

Since I believe the wildlings are the Others and have been behind the creation of white walkers, they are a force that needs to be stopped. I don't know how far south they will get before they are stopped, but there's something about the Neck - some wording about how Starks melt once they're south of the Neck that makes me think the Others will be stopped when they reach the Neck. This is all speculation on my part.

1 hour ago, Jova Snow said:

ead great book theories about Jenny's song, how it is to song Rhaegar would play, how it is about mother's and children, or it could be connected to other song about a mother searching the battlefield to find her son etc, so while I love the song it wasn't what I expected? Do you think the song will be same in books? What about Tysha's song ? Will we learn the missing part about the spring? 

I've been wondering about the significance of that song too. The only clues we have are what we know of Jenny of Oldstones. Jenny herself claimed descent from House Mudd. Jenny died in the flames of Summerhall when Aegon V tried to hatch dragons.

House Mudd was once the most powerful and expansive First Men riverland dynasties, but they were completely annihilated during the Andal invasion. Their fall from power is likely the message we're to get from that song.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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47 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

My impressions are that GRRM has placed a number of false tropes that will ultimately lead to nowhere, and are traps that a majority of people have fallen into to their peril. It's silly to use the word 'peril', but I think there's a rabid sect of readers so invested in R+L=J that they will be extremely upset when it's proven untrue. That is their peril, and that is what I believe GRRM was hinting at in that video he released the same Sunday of the premier of season 8. He said some people are going to like D&D's ending better than his. If the show is following the same outline and hitting all the same high notes, what other ending is he hinting at if not Jon's?

Oh, they'll consume it eagerly, but it'll give them stomach cramps.

I posit that Tormund actually was involved in a ceremony that transformed his son into a white walker. Torwynd was often sickly, so a chance to become a white walker may have been a more preferable life.

I know you had this in spoiler tags, but I don't think it was necessary. We've discussed Jon being the Night's King many times before, and to me it's so obviously true. The Night's King was a Lord Commander who was taken down by mutiny in cooperation with the Lord of Winterfell and the King Beyond the Wall. Isn't that exactly what happened to Jon?

Since I believe there is a wheel of time in play and that it has been replaying historical events in reverse, the outcomes have been different. Therefore, since the Night's King from long ago was presumably killed or interred into the Black Gate, Jon's fate is to somehow survive his internment. They will place his body in an ice cell thinking he is dead, (thus the blue rose smelling sweet growing out of a chink) but because they didn't encase his body into the Wall like the other Nights King, he will be able to rise and take his vengeance against those that killed him. Will he understand and know who his true enemies are? I wonder. I understand that men of the Nights Watch killed him, but Melisandre warned Jon that his enemies are men that smile to his face and sharpen their blades behind his back. Bowen Marsh never hid his distaste for Jon, so I think Bowen really did think he had to do it 'for the Watch'. I have been saying for a very long time now that the wildlings are the Others, and are the 'smiling enemy' that Melisandre warned about. Jon needs to kill the Others - the wildlings - and going from castle to castle to kill them sounds about right.

While I like your idea about Arya killing Jon, because it's interesting, I actually don't see that happening. I think once the Wall comes down, every creature of magic will die - including Jon.

Since I believe the wildlings are the Others and have been behind the creation of white walkers, they are a force that needs to be stopped. I don't know how far south they will get before they are stopped, but there's something about the Neck - some wording about how Starks melt once they're south of the Neck that makes me think the Others will be stopped when they reach the Neck. This is all speculation on my part.

I've been wondering about the significance of that song too. The only clues we have are what we know of Jenny of Oldstones. Jenny herself claimed descent from House Mudd. Jenny died in the flames of Summerhall when Aegon V tried to hatch dragons.

House Mudd was once the most powerful and expansive First Men riverland dynasties, but they were completely annihilated during the Andal invasion. Their fall from power is likely the message we're to get from that song.

True, she is also strongly tied with Summerhall and PTWP prophecy so i think book song will be different. 

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25 minutes ago, Jova Snow said:

True, she is also strongly tied with Summerhall and PTWP prophecy so i think book song will be different. 

I don't see how she's part of the prince that was promised prophecy. She was married to King Aegon V's son, Duncan - aka the Prince of Dragonstone, while Jenny's friend the wood's witch prophesied that the prince that was promised would come through Aerys and Rhaella's line, both of whom survived the tragedy at Summerhall.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, MaesterSam said:

That could certainly be labeled an evil act, but does it make Tywin a Dark Lord who is so evil he is a trope? Not quite. So while killing civilians is definitely not ok, if you're doing it for a purpose in a war, you're not evil enough to be a trope. The Others did, of course, have a valid reason: they needed more people in their army. 

I actually believe that this is a subtle point GRRM is trying to make in this series: that no matter what the scary, seemingly evil Others do - there is a human somewhere in our story who has done worse. 

I agree with everything you're saying here, but it also highlights why "subverting tropes" is a pseudo-literary phrase that seems to be of limited value in describing and understanding a work, despite its near omnipresence in fan discussion. Being subversive is worth aspiring to, and has broad implications for an author's intent with theme and message; subverting tropes, on the other hand, is stuff like "Books A - C depict their orcs as unfailingly cruel, but Book D's orcs love kittens!"

Again, your latter point about human cruelty vs. the actions of the Others is excellent, and the question you raise about Tywin highlights why "the Dark Lord trope" is unreliable in the first place--it is not a concrete term, but an inexact idea where no two fans might even agree on what it means, or whether an author has successfully avoided it.

For example, how do we define Euron as a character? He operates with cartoonish levels of sadism, drops B-movie dialogue like "I am the storm," and appears in visions to Aeron adorned in the imagery of deicide, making over-the-top declarations regarding his ultimate ambitions--so what is the essential quality that makes Euron not a cheesy Dark Lord? If all else about his motives and dialogue were exactly the same, but he was a supernatural entity, would he become a Dark Lord? Is his species the only thing keeping him from ostensibly becoming a bad trope, or is he already a bad trope?


That's a totally sincere question, by the way--I don't know that I could answer any of these questions with real accuracy.

To wrap it back around to the Others, it's not that I doubt that GRRM has done something with the Others that, to his own subjective tastes, is more interesting and nuanced than Tolkien's evil army--it's that I'm just not sure whether he's actually right in that assessment. To my tastes, by making the Others figures of antiquity that have remained largely off-screen, they've already lost the potential to match the human antagonists in nuance, no matter what is subsequently revealed about them.

Edited by Matthew.

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36 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

I don't see how she's part of the prince that was promised prophecy. She was married to King Aegon V's son, Duncan - aka the Prince of Dragonstone, while Jenny's friend the wood's witch prophesied that the prince that was promised would come through Aerys and Rhaella's line, both of whom survived the tragedy at Summerhall.

GoHH came to court with her that's why I said she  connected to PTWP prophecy :)

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

My impressions are that GRRM has placed a number of false tropes that will ultimately lead to nowhere, and are traps that a majority of people have fallen into to their peril.

This might be true, but to me this still goes toward what I consider the essential flaw of "puzzle-box narratives" that are built around revelations recontextualizing - and in some cases, fixing - the narrative that has existed up until the point of the revelation.

Put another way, there's no effective difference between the reading experience of a book that appears to have bad tropes (but will later be revealed as misinformation and red herrings) and a book that actually has bad tropes, especially when the author has published 5 books perpetuating the tropes without actually getting around to the reveals that are supposed to fix them.

 

Edited by Matthew.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

Again, your latter point about human cruelty vs. the actions of the Others is excellent, and the question you raise about Tywin highlights why "the Dark Lord trope" is unreliable in the first place--it is not a concrete term, but an inexact idea where no two fans might even agree on what it means, or whether or an author has successfully avoided it.

For example, how do we define Euron as a character? He operates with cartoonish levels of sadism, drops B-movie dialogue like "I am the storm," and appears in visions to Aeron adorned in the imagery of deicide, making over-the-top declarations regarding his ultimate ambitions--so what is the essential quality that makes Euron not a cheesy Dark Lord? If all else about his motives and dialogue were exactly the same, but he was a supernatural entity, would he become a Dark Lord? Is his species the only thing keeping him from ostensibly becoming a bad trope, or is he already a bad trope?

Your comparison between Tywin and Euron has me wondering why GRRM has presented Tywin as a hidden dark lord and why he's making Euron so obvious as to be cartoonish? Tywin isn't seen as a dark lord, but rather a brilliant strategist, so maybe 'hidden' isn't quite the correct word. He definitely is ruthless, but everything he does is for the betterment of House Lannister - to put them in power and keep them there. But isn't that also what Cersei is doing? She gets a lot of flak. She's called cruel and self-serving - even stupid, but it seems to me she's not all that different than Tywin. Tywin had his hidden secrets, like the tunnel that leads to Chataya's, and using Shae to get to Tyrion. He's done some pretty terrible things, but when he was in control of the realm, he was considered 'just'. 

Euron on the other hand, while elected at the Kingsmoot fairly, is presented as mysteriously evil, but why? Shouldn't he also be considered a ruthless and brilliant strategist? His tactics are brutal, but so were Tywin's. Remember the red wedding? I think it'll also be revealed that he was behind Lyanna's abduction and (I believe) violent rape. Maybe the reason why we think of Euron as a dark lord is because we don't yet know all the terrible things Tywin did?

1 hour ago, Jova Snow said:

GoHH came to court with her that's why I said she  connected to PTWP prophecy :)

I think the wood witch was so sad, because she knew the tragedy would occur, and that Duncan and Jenny would die. Prince Duncan gave up his claim to the throne to marry Jenny, although I don't know if the prophecy would have cared if the PTWP was eligible to inherit the throne. The throne would pass to Duncan's brother Jaehaerys, which is probably why the wood witch said it would come through his children, Aerys and Rhaella. 

1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

Put another way, there's no effective difference between the reading experience of a book that appears to have bad tropes (but will later be revealed as misinformation and red herrings) and a book that actually has bad tropes, especially when the author has published 5 books without actually getting around to the reveals that are supposed to fix what has come before. 

I have wondered why GRRM has chosen to keep Jon's parentage a secret through five books. What is the necessity? If he excludes the reveal from Winds, we will likely never have confirmation! The man is 70 years old, Dance came out in 2011 (8 years ago) and 6 years after Feast. The time between publications has grown with each book so Dream may be at minimum 10 years after Winds. Will GRRM be around and healthy enough to write well into his 80's? I guess there are plenty of people who live into their 90's so there is hope, but statistics are not on our side. And yes, I know, GRRM is not our bitch, but goddam it - it's his fault that we've gotten so demanding!

Edited by Feather Crystal

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15 hours ago, MaesterSam said:

If it makes you feel any better, in GRRM's other works, the honorable characters almost never make it. They're taken out by Littlefinger-type characters. ;)

In that vein, GRRM has repeatedly called out Jimmy Carter as a very honorable man who GRRM also considered a bad president.

There has also been a fairly strong hint that Tywin was a pretty good Hand ably running the Realm, while Aerys descended into madness.   

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1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

This might be true, but to me this still goes toward what I consider the essential flaw of "puzzle-box narratives" that are built around revelations recontextualizing - and in some cases, fixing - the narrative that has existed up until the point of the revelation.

Put another way, there's no effective difference between the reading experience of a book that appears to have bad tropes (but will later be revealed as misinformation and red herrings) and a book that actually has bad tropes, especially when the author has published 5 books perpetuating the tropes without actually getting around to the reveals that are supposed to fix them.

 

Well yes, subverting a trope doesn’t really work if you never get around to the actual, um, subversion.

I’ve been trying to read some of Martin’s other works to see if they provide any insight on where he may be going with the song of Ice and Fire myths.

What I’m finding is that GRRM seems to have no problem I using common tropes of the genre, but usually the story becomes more complicated and messier than the bounds of the tropes.  For example in Fevre Dream:

Spoiler

The story seems to be setting up a fairly common trope of more modern day vampire stories.  Where it appears that we have a “good” vampire hunting down and killing the bad vampires who are killing humans.  But instead we learn that it’s a tad more complicated than that.  That the “good” vampire isn’t trying to punish the “bad” vampires but instead is trying to cure their bloodlusts In the hope that they can evolve as a people and match or overtake the advances that humans have made over them.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

Put another way, there's no effective difference between the reading experience of a book that appears to have bad tropes (but will later be revealed as misinformation and red herrings) and a book that actually has bad tropes, especially when the author has published 5 books perpetuating the tropes without actually getting around to the reveals that are supposed to fix them.

Unless you read it more than 1 time and already know what is happening. Of course this is also true for books with early information reveal. Although they tend (with exceptions) to be more boring on the second read. 

It's a question of entertainment and consumption. 

Edited by SirArthur

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